Letters to the Editor

This matter of firearm safety

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

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Dear Editor,

I write in response to the letter headlined 'A plea for firearm safety' published in the Jamaica Observer on Friday, August 31 and written by Howard D Hamilton.

The writer made mention of the Firearm Licensing Authority (FLA) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) policy of ensuring that holders of licensed firearms, and officers given the privilege of keeping and caring a firearm, have a safe place to secure the weapon.

This issue came to the fore due to the recent unfortunate incident in which a child reportedly shot himself with a service firearm assigned to his parent. The writer urged collaboration between the FLA and the JCF in ensuring that JCF members who take home firearms have a safe place to lock away the weapon.

What I'm aware of is that the FLA will not grant you a firearm licence if you do not have a safe or a strong box to secure the weapon. I will go one step further to say that just having the safe is not enough for a permit because the safe has to be securely bolted to a hard, immovable surface and should be in a concealed area. After this an FLA inspector has to inspect the safe and the house and grant clearance before the licence is considered.

The JCF also would follow proper procedure in allowing its officers to carry home firearms, as it would be the same JCF that would have to investigate in the event something was to happen regarding its weapons.

Firearm holders know that it is not safe to keep weapons under pillows, on top of dressers, on refrigerators, on kitchen counters, table tops, etc, whether they are loaded or not. While firearm safety cannot be over emphasised, I contend that the FLA and JCF can do nothing more than to remind firearm holders of safety procedures.

It is the individual's responsibility to ensure the safety of their weapons, especially with children around.

Hezekan Bolton


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